The 6 Christmas Dishes You Should Be Making, Not Buying

Photo by Nicole Michalou on

 For Christmas dinners, you always have extra pressure for things to be special, and that means that while you can certainly fill in with some store-bought helpers, certain things really should be made from scratch.

Here are the 6 Christmas dishes that you should make, not buy. Trust me — they’re worth the effort. 

Christmas ham

It is so easy to grab a spiral-sliced wonder with the packet of brown sugar glaze and just reheat. But if the ham is the centerpiece of your meal, not to mention the key leftover for days to come for post-holiday sandwiches, it is worthwhile to make the extra effort. Spiral sliced hams tend to dry out when you reheat them, and pre-sliced meat spoils faster than whole cuts. Buy a whole or half ham, on the bone, from your local butcher. Make a killer glaze and watch your family swoon.


Photo by Saher Suthriwala on

If you do a Christmas turkey, you know that a great gravy makes it extra. Those jars and cans always feel like a great time-saver, but they always do taste canned. Instead, make the gravy from scratch, but make it ahead! Gravy freezes beautifully, so lean into that time-saver without losing homemade flavor. Buy and roast some turkey wings, necks, or drumsticks to get the drippings you need as the base for your stock and make that gravy anytime between now and the week before the holiday. Just reheat gently. 


From mashed to scalloped to a cheesy casserole, potatoes are not the place to save time and energy. Potatoes are just always better made fresh, and while many recipes can be prepped ahead, be sure to cook the day of. Leftover potatoes are delicious, but they do always taste like leftovers. 

Green vegetables

Photo by Valeria Boltneva on

Whatever your family tradition calls for — that green bean casserole, roasted Brussels sprouts, or braised collards — make it from scratch. Christmas dinner traditionally is a rich and heavy meal, and the vegetables are there to bring a bright balance. Store-bought, frozen, or pre-prepped are always going to taste a bit pale.

Fruit pies

Photo by Marta Dzedyshko on

From apple to cherry, if a fruit pie is part of your family dessert table unless you are sourcing from an artisanal bakery, make these from scratch. Grocery store fruit pies almost always rely on processed fillings, and the crusts get limp and rubbery. Need that shortcut? Go semi-homemade! Buy a good quality store-bought crust and make the filling from scratch.


Author: Devika

Devika, M.Sc, NET Qualified is passionate about helping people discover the power of nourishing real food. She specializes in weight management, therapeutic nutrition, food allergies and intolerances, inflammatory diseases, gut health, and functional nutrition. Her approach blends a conventional health care and nutrition background with natural and science-based therapies.